David Copp has made Chicago his home for more than a decade.
He has practiced with several law firms in the Chicago area with:
David is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law.
EXPUNGING CRIMINAL RECORDS IN ILLINOIS
Don't Let Past Mistakes Hurt Your Future
Having a criminal record in Illinois makes life more difficult. A criminal record can limit you from getting the job you want, obtaining housing, getting professional licenses, legally owning a firearm, qualifying for government programs, receiving student loans, and many other opportunities which would otherwise be available to you.
To make matters worse, criminal records in Illinois are typically available to the public without even needing a formal Illinois background check. Often, anybody with a connection to the Internet can find your Illinois criminal record. Fortunately, Illinois law permits the expungement of both felony and misdemeanor criminal records.
Expunging an Illinois criminal record erases arrest records and court dispositions from your criminal record history as if they never existed. Expungement in Illinois is generally limited to criminal records that did not result in a conviction, but they are currently the best available form of relief for those that qualify.
This Information Is For You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Can You Expunge Your Illinois Record?
Illinois law allows you to expunge both misdemeanor and felony criminal records, however, not all criminal records qualify. As a general rule, Illinois expungements are limited to incidents that did not result in a conviction, or when you completed a “Qualified Probation” or supervision order from the court.
General Requirements to Expunge a Conviction in Illinois
The two general types of situations where a criminal record can be expunged in Illinois include:
- When the final disposition of your criminal record did not result in a conviction or
- When you successfully complete “Qualified Probation” or “Supervision” ordered by the court and meet additional requirements.
Criminal Records That Did Not Result In a Conviction
The Criminal Identification Act (20 ILCS 2630/5.2) allows petitioners to expunge arrest records that did not result in a conviction or finding of guilt. You can immediately seal your record if any of the following are true:
- You were acquitted or found not guilty at trial
- Your charges were dismissed
- You were never charged after being released from custody
- You were granted a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement
- You received a pardon from the Governor
- There was a finding of No Probable Cause (FNPC)
- Your charges were Stricken with Leave to Reinstate
- You were found “factually innocent” by the court or
- Your conviction was overturned or vacated on appeal
In the above situations, you should be immediately eligible for expungement if you have no pending criminal charges or proceedings. In some of the above situations, you may seek expungement with pending charges, but it is advisable to resolve of any outstanding criminal matters before attempting to expunge or seal your record.
Expunging Records for Qualified Probation and Supervision
The second category of criminal records eligible to expunge under Illinois law relate to cases resulting in “Qualified Probation” (as defined by 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(a)(1)(j)) or Supervision (as defined in 730 ILCS 5/5-1-21), and then successful completion of the terms of that sentence. There are exceptions that apply to this category of criminal records, which we will discuss below.
What is Qualified Probation?
“Qualified Probation” is a term used in the state’s expungement statute, and is defined as one of the following types of probation:
- Section 10 of the Cannabis Control Act
- Section 410 of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act
- Section 70 of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act
- Section 5-6-3.3 or 5-6-3.4 of the Unified Code of Corrections (also known as Second Chance Probation)
- Section 10-102 of the Illinois Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependency Act
- Section 40-10 of the Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act or
- Section 10 of the Steroid Control Act
How Do You Expunge Convictions with Qualified Probation?
To expunge a criminal record relating to a criminal event where you were placed on “Qualified Probation,” you must also satisfy the following requirements to be eligible:
- You must have successfully completed the terms of your Qualified Probation program
- Five years must have passed since you completed your program and
- If you were placed on Qualified Probation, you may also need to pass a drug test within 30 days of filing your legal documents requesting expungement.
It should be noted that if at least three years have passed since you completed the program, you may seal your record, and then expunge it once the five-year waiting period has passed.
What is Supervision?
“Supervision” is a term defined by Illinois law as conditional and revocable release under conditions and reporting requirements imposed by the court. After completing the terms of Supervision, the court will dismiss your case. In other words, the court creates conditions that you need to follow, allowing for the dismissal of charges if you complete them.
How do You Expunge Charges with Supervision
Supervision is a much broader type of probation than the types of Qualified Probation discussed above, but it has several additional requirements to expunge charges that were dismissed after successful completion of Supervision, including:
- You must successfully complete the terms of your Supervision and receive a dismissal
- Your charges cannot be for a Sexual Offense Involving a Minor
- Your charges cannot be for Driving Under the Influence
- Your charges cannot be for Reckless Driving if it occurred when you were at least 25 years old or you are not yet 25 years old and
- You must satisfy the applicable waiting period listed immediately below.
Waiting Period to Expunge Cases with Supervision
Once the terms of your Supervision have been successfully completed, there is typically a waiting period until you can expunge your record. For most crimes, you must wait two years from the date of successfully completing the terms of your Supervision. However, for the offenses listed below, the waiting period is extended to five years:
- Domestic Battery
- Sexual Abuse Not Involving a Minor Victim
- Operation of an Uninsured Motor Vehicle
- Operation of a Motor Vehicle when Registration is Suspended for Non-Insurance
- Display of a False Insurance Card or
- Failure for a Scrap Processor to Keep Records.
Legal Effects of Expunging Your Record
After successfully expunging a criminal record under Illinois law, the criminal record is considered to have never happened. Expungements in Illinois are incredibly helpful for employment purposes, but do not restore firearm rights.
The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to obtaining employment and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each.
How Will Expunging My Illinois Record Help Me Get A Job?
Expunging an Illinois conviction is one of the most effective ways to improve your chances of getting a job with a criminal record. Obtaining an expungement erases the criminal record as if it never happened. An expungement allows you to legally state that the expunged records do not exist. However, expungements based on Qualified Probation are only sealed by the State Police, and may show up in certain background checks as records marked expunged. In addition, some state agencies can seek access to expunged or sealed records, including law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, correctional institutions, military, and the Department of Child and Family Services.
Will Expunging My Illinois Record Restore My Second Amendment Rights?
Most circumstances that qualify for expungement do not take away firearm rights, so expungement would have no effect.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in Illinois on our Illinois Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Criminal Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
Some of the Potential Benefits of Expunging Your Record in Illinois Include:
- Removing a finding of guilt and closing the case on your criminal record to help you get a better job
- Restoring your Second Amendment Rights to own a firearm
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
We Are Here to Help
Each of Illinois's methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what Illinois criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of Illinois criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Illinois criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Illinois state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!